- The Red Cross is urging people of all blood types, but especially Type O, to make an appointment to donate blood amid the worst national shortage in decades.
- COVID-19 has led to a 10% decline in the number of people donating blood and a 62% drop in blood drives at schools and colleges, according to the Red Cross.
The United States is facing its worst blood shortage in more than a decade, largely as a result of a drop in blood drives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Red Cross said.
The organization has declared a “national blood crisis,” saying “dangerously low” supplies are forcing doctors to make “difficult decisions” about who is able to receive blood transfusions.
In recent weeks, the Red Cross said it has had less than a one-day supply of critical blood types, forcing the organization to limit blood distributions to hospitals. As many as one-quarter of hospital blood needs aren’t being met, according to the Red Cross.
The organization is urging people of all blood types, but especially Type O, to make an appointment to donate blood.
RED CROSS WANTS BLOOD DONATIONS AMID OMICRON SURGE:Because I’m gay, I’m excluded.
The pandemic has led to a 10% decline in the number of people donating blood and a 62% drop in blood drives at schools and colleges, the Red Cross said. The organization added that blood drives and donation centers adhere to COVID-19 precautions, requiring face masks for donors and staff.
“Winter weather across the country and the recent surge of COVID-19 cases are compounding the already-dire situation facing the blood supply,” Baia Lasky, medical director for the Red Cross, said in a statement. “Please, if you are eligible, make an appointment to give blood or platelets in the days and weeks ahead to ensure no patient is forced to wait for critical care.”
For National Blood Donor Month in January, the Red Cross is partnering with the National Football League to allow people who donate blood, platelets or plasma this month to enter a raffle for a getaway to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles. Donors will also be automatically entered in a raffle for a home theater package and a $500 e-gift card.
The Red Cross is also looking for volunteers for blood drives.
As the pandemic fuels blood supply challenges, advocates have pushed for eliminating a long criticized restriction for gay men wanting to donate blood. Amid the HIV/AIDS crisis, the FDA first banned men who have sex with men from donating blood in 1983. In 2015, the agency updated the policy, requiring gay men to instead abstain from sex for a year before donating blood.